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  1. A Metametaphysics of Form.James Dominic Rooney - forthcoming - In Gaven Kerr (ed.), Thomism Revisited. Cambridge University Press.
    A model of metaphysics associated with EJ Lowe and Tuomas Tahko sees metaphysics as involving a priori knowledge of possible essences, or at least modal facts, and delimiting the actual ‘ontological categories,’ the ultimate and essential divisions of what exists, based on the results of a posteriori scientific investigation. Their approach to metaphysics has been criticized by those who argue that such metaphysics is unsuitably a priori, disconnected with empirical research in natural science, and ends up failing to provide meaningful (...)
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  2. Sex and Gender.Esther Rosario - 2024 - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge.
    This chapter surveys essentialist and anti-essentialist theories of sex and gender. It does so by engaging three approaches to sex and gender: externalism, internalism, and contextualism. The chapter also draws attention to two key debates about sex and gender in the feminist literature: the debate about the sex/gender distinction (the distinction debate) and the debate about whether sex and gender have essences (the essentialism/anti-essentialism debate). In addition, it describes three problems that theories of sex and gender tend to face: the (...)
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  3. Conventionalism about Persons and the Nonidentity Problem.Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (4):954-967.
    ABSTRACT I motivate ‘Origin Conventionalism’—the view that which facts about one’s origins are essential to one’s existence depends partly on our person-directed attitudes. One important upshot is that the view offers a novel and attractive solution to the Nonidentity Problem. That problem typically assumes that the sperm-egg pair from which a person originates is essential to that person’s existence; in which case, for many future persons that come into existence under adverse conditions, had those conditions not been realized, the individuals (...)
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  4. The Grounding Mystique.Alan Sidelle - 2023 - The Monist 106 (3):225-238.
    Grounding has become all the rage in recent philosophical work and metaphilosophical discussions. While I agree that the concept of ground marks something useful, I am skeptical about the metaphysical weight many imbue it with, and the picture of ‘worldly layering’ that grounding talk inspires. My skepticism centers around the fact that grounding involves necessitation, combined with reasons for thinking matters of necessity are matters of logical or conceptual (semantic, psychological) relations. I sketch an argument for deflationism about ground based (...)
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  5. William Whewell, Cluster Theorist of Kinds.Zina B. Ward - 2023 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 13 (2):362-386.
    A dominant strand of philosophical thought holds that natural kinds are clusters of objects with shared properties. Cluster theories of natural kinds are often taken to be a late twentieth-century development, prompted by dissatisfaction with essentialism in philosophy of biology. I will argue here, however, that a cluster theory of kinds had actually been formulated by William Whewell (1794-1866) more than a century earlier. Cluster theories of kinds can be characterized in terms of three central commitments, all of which are (...)
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  6. Against the epistemology of essence.Nathan Wildman - 2023 - Connaissance Philosophique Et Connaissance des Essences.
    While recent history has seen significant debate concerning the nature and extension of essence, comparatively little attention has been paid to the epistemology of essence. This is strange, as, plausibly, what answers we give to the metaphysical questions about essence will (or should) be partially constrained by our essence epistemology. Here, I aim to go some way towards filling this lacuna. In particular, I here argue that there is no plausible epistemic story available for non-modal accounts of essence. In particular, (...)
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  7. Why Lewis Would Have Rejected Grounding.Fraser MacBride & Frederique Janssen-Lauret - 2022 - In Helen Beebee & A. R. J. Fisher (eds.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 66-91.
    We argue that Lewis would have rejected recent appeals to the notions of ‘metaphysical dependency’, ‘grounding’ and ‘ontological priority’, because he would have held that they’re not needed and they’re not intelligible. We argue our case by drawing upon Lewis’s views on supervenience, the metaphysics of singletons and the dubiousness of Kripke’s essentialism.
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  8. The limits of neo‐aristotelian plenitude.Joshua Spencer - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):74-92.
    Neo‐Aristotelian Plenitude is the thesis that, necessarily, any property that could be had essentially by something or other is had essentially by something or other if and only if and because it is instantiated; any essentializable property is essentialized iff and because it is instantiated. In this paper, I develop a partial nonmodal characterization of ‘essentializable' and show it cannot be transformed into a full characterization. There are several seemingly insurmountable obstacles that any full characterization of essentializability must overcome. Moreover, (...)
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  9. Linguistic convention and worldly fact: Prospects for a naturalist theory of the a priori.Brett Topey - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1725-1752.
    Truth by convention, once thought to be the foundation of a uniquely promising approach to explaining our access to the truth in nonempirical domains, is nowadays widely considered an absurdity. Its fall from grace has been due largely to the influence of an argument that can be sketched as follows: our linguistic conventions have the power to make it the case that a sentence expresses a particular proposition, but they can’t by themselves generate truth; whether a given proposition is true—and (...)
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  10. Culture or Biology? If this sounds interesting, you might be confused.Sebastian Watzl - 2019 - In Jaan Valsinger (ed.), Social Philosophy of Science for the Social Sciences. Springer. pp. 45-71.
    Culture or Biology? The question can seem deep and important. Yet, I argue in this chapter, if you are enthralled by questions about our biological differences, then you are probably confused. My goal is to diagnose the confusion. In debates about the role of biology in the social world it is easy to ask the wrong questions, and it is easy to misinterpret the scientific research. We are intuitively attracted to what is called psychological essentialism, and therefore interpret what is (...)
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  11. The Poverty of Essentialism in the Philosophy of Technology.Alireza Mansouri - 2016 - Journal of Methodology of Social Sciences and Humanities 85 (21):69-89.
    Essentialism is one of the common approaches in the philosophy of technology. Based on this approach, technology has an independent essence, and knowing technology requires knowing this essence. The present article aims to criticize essentialism in the philosophy of technology in the framework of critical rationalism. The paper argues that essentialism is inadequate because it leads to irrationalism and determinism and destroys any ground for reform and critical discussion about technology; instead, it recommends sudden and irrational changes. Secondly, it contains (...)
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  12. Not So Human, After All?Brendan Shea - 2016 - In C. Lewis & K. McCain (eds.), Red Rising and Philosophy. Chicago, IL: Open Court. pp. 15-25.
    If asked to explain why the Golds’ treatment of other colors in Red Rising is wrong, it is tempting to say something like “they are all human beings, and it is wrong to treat humans in this way!” In this essay, I’ll argue that this simple answer is considerably complicated by the fact that the different colors might not be members of the same biological species, and it is in fact unclear whether any of them are the same species as (...)
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  13. Natural Kind Essentialism Revisited.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Mind 124 (495):795-822.
    Recent work on Natural Kind Essentialism has taken a deflationary turn. The assumptions about the grounds of essentialist truths concerning natural kinds familiar from the Kripke-Putnam framework are now considered questionable. The source of the problem, however, has not been sufficiently explicated. The paper focuses on the Twin Earth scenario, and it will be demonstrated that the essentialist principle at its core (which I call IDENT)—that necessarily, a sample of a chemical substance, A, is of the same kind as another (...)
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  14. De Re Essentialism, Species, and Modal Ambiguity.Ross Inman - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (1).
    I offer a concise critique of a recurring line of reasoning advanced by Joseph LaPorte and Samir Okasha that all modern species concepts render the view that biological organisms essentially belong to their species empirically untenable. The argument, I claim, trades on a crucial modal ambiguity that collapses the de re/de dicto distinction. Contra their claim that the continued adherence of such a view on behalf of contemporary metaphysicians stems from the latter’s ignorance of developments in modern biology, the modal (...)
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  15. Antirealist Essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Leeds
    This project is an investigation into the prospects for an antirealist theory of essence. Essentialism is the claim that at least some things have some of their properties essentially. Essentialist discourse includes claims such as “Socrates is essentially human”, and “Socrates is accidentally bearded”. Historically, there are two ways of interpreting essentialist discourse. I call these positions ‘modal essentialism’ and ‘neo-Aristotelian essentialism’. According to modal essentialism, for Socrates to be essentially human is for it to be necessary that he be (...)
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  16. Essentialism: Metaphysical or Psychological?Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):65-72.
    In this paper, I argue that Psychological Essentialism (PE), the view that essences are a heuristic or mental shortcut, is a better explanation for modal intuitions than Metaphysical Essentialism (ME), the view that objects have essences, or more precisely, that (at least some) objects have (at least some) essential properties. If this is correct, then the mere fact that we have modal intuitions is not a strong reason to believe that objects have essential properties.
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  17. Soames’s Deflationism About Modality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379.
    One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the deflationary one, specifically Alan Sidelle’s account, (...)
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  18. Scientific enquiry and natural kinds: from planets to mallards.P. D. Magnus - 2012 - New York, NY: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Some scientific categories seem to correspond to genuine features of the world and are indispensable for successful science in some domain; in short, they are natural kinds. This book gives a general account of what it is to be a natural kind and puts the account to work illuminating numerous specific examples.
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  19. Three ways of resisting essentialism about natural kinds.Bence Nanay - 2011 - In J. K. Campbell & M. H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. MIT Press. pp. 175--97.
    Essentialism about natural kinds has three tenets. The first tenet is that all and only members of a natural kind has some essential properties. The second tenet is that these essential properties play a causal role. The third tenet is that they are explanatorily relevant. I examine the prospects of questioning these tenets and point out that arguing against the first and the second tenets of kind-essentialism would involve taking parts in some of the grand debates of philosophy. But, at (...)
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  20. Locke on Real Essences, Intelligibility, and Natural Kinds.Jan-Erik Jones - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Research 35:147-172.
    In this paper I criticize arguments by Pauline Phemister and Matthew Stuart that John Locke's position in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding allows for natural kinds based on similarities among real essences. On my reading of Locke, not only are similarities among real essences irrelevant to species, but natural kind theories based on them are unintelligible.
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  21. How Scientific Is Scientific Essentialism?Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (1):85-101.
    Scientific essentialism holds that: (1) each scientific kind is associated with the same set of properties in every possible world; and (2) every individual member of a scientific kind belongs to that kind in every possible world in which it exists. Recently, Ellis (Scientific essentialism, 2001 ; The philosophy of nature 2002 ) has provided the most sustained defense of scientific essentialism, though he does not clearly distinguish these two claims. In this paper, I argue that both claims face a (...)
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  22. Essentialism and Reference to Kinds: Three issues in Penelope Mackie's How Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties.Teresa Robertson - 2009 - Philosophical Books 50 (3):125-141.
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  23. Essentialism and anti-essentialism in feminist philosophy.Alison Stone - 2004 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (2):135-153.
    This article revisits the ethical and political questions raised by feminist debates over essentialism, the belief that there are properties essential to women and which all women share. Feminists’ widespread rejection of essentialism has threatened to undermine feminist politics. Re-evaluating two responses to this problem—‘strategic’ essentialism and Iris Marion Young’s idea that women are an internally diverse ‘series’—I argue that both unsatisfactorily retain essentialism as a descriptive claim about the social reality of women’s lives. I argue instead that women have (...)
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